The facelifted Toyota Corolla has launched in Japan – as before, in Axio sedan and Fielder estate forms. This Corolla is Japan-only, mind you, and is different from the one sold in the US or the rest of the world.

Thanks to slimmer headlamps and a Camry-like ‘Under Priority’ face, the cars make much more of a visual statement now. The rear combi lamps have also been reshaped. Like on our Camry, slatted and diamond-effect grilles are available – the latter on WxB (that’s black and white) and Aerotourer grades. Meanwhile, LED clearance lamps are standard on some variants and optional on others.

Debuting on these cars is the Toyota Safety Sense C package, which is standard on some variants and optional on others. This combines a laser radar unit and camera to give you Pre-Collision System (auto-braking between 10 and 80 km/h), Lane Departure Alert and Automatic High Beam.

Inside, you’ll find genuine leather on the steering wheel and gear knob, reshaped side air-con vents, a new front-cupholder LED spot lamp as well as piano black in the gear lever area on some grades.

The Axio sedan gets 1.3, 1.5 and 1.5 Hybrid (from the Prius c) powertrains, while the Fielder has 1.5, 1.8 and 1.5 Hybrid powertrains. Five-speed manual and CVT ‘boxes, plus front- and all-wheel drive versions, are available for the picking.

There are in fact two types of 1.5 litre engine available – the 2NR-FKE is newly-developed, and you’ll get it if you go for any FWD CVT variant (the old 1NZ-FE still serves all other 1.5 variants).

Mated to standard Stop & Start, this VVT-iE, Atkinson-cycle 13.5:1 high compression motor is capable of 23.4 km per litre on the Axio and 23 km per litre on the Fielder. Additionally, the hybrid models are now more efficient, with a quoted 33.8 km per litre.

New body colours, too – Orange Metallic for the Fielder, Cool Bordeaux Glass Flake (optional for WxB grade only) and Vintage Brown Pearl Crystal Shine (optional for the Axio). WxB is a new grade that’s exclusive to the Fielder – you get a black ceiling and pillars, plus white seats and door trim (optional).

The facelifted Corolla Axio is priced between 1.46 million and 2.21 million yen (RM44k-67k), and its Fielder sister between 1.61 million and 2.47 million yen (RM49k-75k).